Misty Badke, seen here Wednesday, Dec. 16, is the new administrative assistant at the Elizabeth City Coast Guard base. Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney
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Misty Badke, seen here Wednesday, Dec. 16, is the new administrative assistant at the Elizabeth City Coast Guard base. Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney

Persistence pays off for new CG base command secretary

By William F. West

Staff Writer

3 Comments | Leave a Comment

Misty Badke is proof that persistence can pay off when searching for a job.

That’s because after several tries at finding employment, she’s the new command secretary at Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City.

Returning early in 2015 to the Harbor of Hospitality after having lived out west as an Army soldier’s wife, Badke began looking for work again locally.

Her mother Michelle Lewis advised her to check with the Coast Guard because Lewis has worked on base for over 15 years in a variety of positions as a civilian contract employee.

“She makes it sound amazing -- and she wasn’t wrong,” Badke said.

Badke started with a contractor and applied so much, she received a call one day about an opening that had not been posted. The job was for a secretary, but Badke said she had no idea that she was interviewing for command secretary until reporting for work late last year at the base’s headquarters at the Richard L. Burke Building.

Naturally, Badke was ecstatic but a bit nervous after learning she’d be working for the base’s high-ranking officials.

Badke assists the base’s commanding officer, Bruce Brown, the base’s executive officer, Timothy McClellan, and the base’s command master chief, Alexandra Muhly.

Badke said Brown is amazing and quite involved in the Elizabeth City community yet down to earth in his manner and management style.

“He has been very welcoming and helpful,” she said.

Badke’s job is akin to being a gatekeeper at a Times Square.

“Everybody comes through this building,” she said. “So, I get to meet a lot of people from everywhere on this base, which is really nice.”

“You make connections -- and if you’re having a problem, you know who to call because they’ve all been there,” she said.

Badke begins her day at 7 a.m., takes phone calls, handles correspondence and works with the base’s command to make sure their appointments, calendars and schedules are kept up to date. She learned the clerical and computer duties from prior jobs in medical and veterinary offices.

She’s pleased with the view of the Pasquotank River from her office window.

“Oh, I love it. I turn around and it’s beautiful. It is beautiful,” Badke said.

Badke’s arrival at the base came at a bit hectic time last month when Base Elizabeth City was concluding a year-long 75th anniversary celebration. The event culminated in a ceremony naming the base’s headquarters in honor of Burke, a highly decorated search and rescue aviator and Air Station Elizabeth City’s first commanding officer.

Badke, 36, was born in Granite City, Illinois, which is just northeast of St. Louis, but because her mother’s family lived on Knotts Island, she grew up in the Albemarle region and went to school at Currituck High.

Badke worked a couple of years in advertising for The Daily Advance, which she said got her creative juices flowing.

“It was fun.” she said. “It was a good job for one so young.”

Badke’s husband, Dennis, had been a printing press operator at The Daily Advance and the couple moved to Greenville when the paper started printing the paper there.

When her husband joined the Army, they moved to New Mexico where he was stationed at White Sands Missile Range and then to then-Fort Lewis in Washington state. The military post, which today is Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is close to Tacoma and Seattle

She particularly has pleasant memories of her time in the desert of The Land of Enchantment.

“That was my favorite place. I loved it,” she said. “It was beautiful. The weather was perfect. Everything was really nice.”

Badke and her family’s move a few years later to Washington state was a big contrast.

“We went from brown to green,” she said.

Fort Lewis was pretty but busy, she recalled.

“There were a lot of people on that base. I mean, it wasn’t bad” but there’s a culture shock when relocating from the desert to a metro area, she said.

Climb Mount Rainier was one of fond memories.

“That was probably the best thing that anybody could do while they’re there,” she said.

While out west, Badke twice saw her husband off for service in the Middle East; once to Iraq while she remained back in New Mexico; once to Afghanistan while she remained back in Washington State.

Her husband concluded an approximately seven-year Army career that saw him serve as a combat engineer and achieve the rank of sergeant.

After approximately four years in Washington state, Badke and her family moved to Elizabeth City to be close to her relatives again.

Of working for the Coast Guard, as opposed to her previous time as an Army soldier’s wife, she said there’s a bit of a difference between the two services.

“They have different lingo, but it’s all the same thing the end,” she said. “They all have the same mission.”

In the Army, personnel refer to each other by last name, while in the Coast Guard, personnel refer to each other by rank.

“I’m still getting used to that,” she said.

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